The page for enthusiasts in the Oxford Chilterns Area - News from you and news for you - pictures too  ~~~~   The page for enthusiasts in the Oxford Chilterns Area - News from you and news for you - pictures too  ~~~~   The page for enthusiasts in the Oxford Chilterns Area - News from you and news for you - pictures too  

News Page
Editorial & Features

Issue 294
Friday 4th September 2009
(next update end September 2009)

Now in our 11th year

Visit the "OXFORD & CHILTERN BUS PAGE " Archives from October 2002

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Please note that any comments made in this news page are those of the Editors' and in no way constitute 
any official points of view from the bus companies mentioned,  or indeed any other official body. 
As a news page we reserve the right to make valid comments as seen from an editorial point of view.

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Menu for News Page Issue 4th September 2009

Archive Index (previous News Pages)

Introduction & main menu

Editorial & Features plus Picture Corner

Company and Fleet News

Concessionary Travel, Buses in the Landscape, Running Days and Historical articles

Spottings and Jottings nr2 30th August 2009

Special issue to mark introduction of new Oxford tube fleet

Some pages may not be available immediately, please check back.

Editorial & Features


East Thames Buses sold to Go-Ahead

Megabus to expand again

First launch Greyhound in the U.K.

Consortium makes National Express Group offer

Eastbourne merger reduced competition

OFT misses the point

Changes to bus services in Chesham and Amersham

VOSA needs help

A day out in Oxfordshire through the lens of John Hammond

Huntingdon with Gary Seamarks

Ian Brown reports on a day out on the National Express 737, Oxford Tube and Green Line 758


East Thames Buses sold

Go-Ahead Group is to buy East Thames Buses (ETB) from Transport for London (TfL) for £5m.

TfL says it expects that the operation of ETB’s contracts by Go-Ahead will save it more than £30m over the next nine years.

The deal includes the staff and assets, and is due to be completed by 5 September. ETB, which has around 460 employees and 113 vehicles, will operate as part of the Go-Ahead London Bus Company, whose London market share will grow to 21.5%.

ETB operates nine routes for TfL, including two school routes. All contracts will be renewed with ETB for five years, from the date of the sale’s completion, together with a two-year option for extension. The annual turnover of the business is around £24 million.


Megabus to expand again

Stagecoach is expanding Megabus - its budget-price UK coach network - from 5 October.

There will be a new cross-country service between Cardiff and Newcastle, via Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds.

It follows a £4m investment in 11 Plaxton Volvo inter-urban coaches and four Van Hool Astromega double-deck coaches.

SC 54055 one of the latest tri-axle Volvos allocated to Rugby and seen on a London-Bournemouth working on 24th August by Gavin Francis

They will provide increased capacity and comfort on its routes from London to Leeds, Birmingham, Liverpool and Cheltenham, and cross-country journeys between Portsmouth, Southampton, Winchester, Oxford, Coventry, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds.

Also, frequency is being increased on the Leeds-London, Cardiff-London and Portsmouth-Leeds routes.

Megabus is also to run services on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. This follows on from Oxford tube which has always operated on Christmas Day!


First Group launches Greyhound in the UK


This week FirstGroup unveiled the first Greyhound coaches which will introduce the iconic brand to the UK.  Greyhound UK will launch on September 14th between London and the two cities of Portsmouth and Southampton and the company hopes to add further destinations from 2010.

In the USA and Canada, Greyhound offers the only countrywide network of coach services.  Celebrated in film and song for nearly a century Greyhound has become the most famous bus brand in the world.  Greyhound UK will offer unrivalled product and service quality with a large range of cheap fares starting from £1, plus 50p booking fee, on  Onboard features will include spacious leather seating, free wi-fi, power sockets, air-conditioning, complimentary newspapers and Greyhound will also offer industry-leading customer service.

Sir Moir Lockhead, FirstGroup’s Chief Executive, revealed the new vehicles and said:

“For 95 years Greyhound has been an icon of American life carrying millions of people across the USA and Canada.   Since FirstGroup took over Greyhound in 2007, we have hoped to bring this famous brand across the Atlantic and I am absolutely delighted to reveal the first authentic Greyhound coaches in the UK. 

Although built on a venerable and famous brand, these vehicles will offer the latest in customer service and comfort.  Greyhound UK will offer unrivalled value for money with fares available on-line from £1 each way plus 50p booking fee.  All vehicles will be equipped with free wi-fi, air-conditioning, up to 20% extra leg room compared with rivals and industry-leading customer service.  Passengers will travel in comfort and be able to use the time spent onboard for work or leisure.  When we introduced these features in the USA, with Greyhound’s BoltBus subsidiary, passenger demand exceeded our expectations and I am confident that Greyhound UK will do the same. 

Our services will be more attractive than rival bus and train options, but we also believe that Greyhound UK’s growth will come from persuading more people to leave their cars at home and opt instead for our coaches.  By providing these services at an unbeatable price, and doing so with the carbon footprint around 23% of journeys by private car, we think we will really make an impact on how people will travel in the future.  I am pleased to be able to say that “the Greyhound has landed” and I am confident that it will set new benchmarks for travel in Britain.”

FirstGroup is Britain’s largest bus and rail operator and is already one of Britain’s biggest scheduled coach operators with over 250 vehicles operating under a variety of brand names.  First is evaluating plans to roll out new Greyhound UK services from 2010. 

Alex Warner, Greyhound UK’s Managing Director, explained the product and service offering:

“Greyhound UK will provide fast and frequent services.   On September 14th we will launch with an hourly service each way between London and Portsmouth and London and Southampton.  These services will be provided with convenient kerb-side pick ups at a number of locations in both south coast cities with all services in London arriving and departing from Bulleid Way, Victoria Railway Station, London.   Greyhound services will also integrate with ferry services to and from the Isle of Wight.  All services will be non-stop between the two cities, taking under two hours and providing a journey time advantage up to 40% over other coach operators whose services typically stop a number of times at intermediate locations including Heathrow. 

Customer service will be at the heart of Greyhound UK.  Buying a ticket through our website will be simple and great value with a large number of cheap fares from £1 plus 50p booking fee.  Our Scania Irizar coaches have only 41 seats rather than the 50 or so typically operated by other coach companies and the level of comfort eclipses anything else in the marketplace.  We’re recruiting and training our staff to be committed to providing safe, reliable and customer focussed services.

Market research we’ve conducted shows that 46% of existing rail customers and 73% of current coach customers would consider trying a new coach service based on the Greyhound product and service proposition.”

The new services will be marketed through a multi-media campaign with a focus on targeted online advertising complemented by more traditional print and field marketing activities. The services will be particularly attractive to a young demographic profile that is media and technologically savvy – such as the large student populations in the cities served.  In addition, commuters, day trippers and those attending sporting and other entertainment events at both ends of the routes will also be attracted by the Greyhound product, service and value proposition.

All Greyhound UK coaches will have names.  The theme will be women’s names from popular American songs such as ‘Sweet Caroline’, ‘Barbara Ann’, ‘Jolene’ and ‘Peggy Sue’.

The Greyhound UK fleet consist entirely of Scania Irizar PB models. Its aerodynamic design is very

distinctive and comes complete with a range of features:

• Weight: 13,750kgs

• Length: 12.2m

• Breadth: 2.55m

• Height: 3.6m

• Sensors placed throughout the coach continuously monitor temperature and humidity to adjust comfort levels. Total air volume is replaced every 60 seconds with fresh air at the correct temperature.

• The coaches are exceptionally quiet, with lower interior decibels than most luxury cars.

• Each coach is fitted with ‘DriveGreen’, First’s groundbreaking new system which helps improve driving styles and reduces carbon emissions. Each coach is fitted with the latest GPS technology that detects dozens of driving movements per minute and immediately lets the driver know how well they are driving. A ‘traffic light’ monitor on the Greyhound’s dashboard flashes green if the driver is driving correctly, or amber or red if a bus driver carries out an unwanted driving manoeuvre such as heavy braking or unnecessary acceleration. The driver can then make immediate changes to their driving to ensure buses travel more efficiently to produce fewer CO2 emissions as well as travelling more smoothly to improve the journey experience for passengers. For the passenger this means:

    • Green - the journey is smooth enough to read a newspaper

    • Amber - the passenger has to look up from their newspaper

    • Red - the passenger has to hold a handrail to steady themselves

• Each Greyhound coach seats 41 passengers, eight less that the usual configuration on an Irizar PB. Greyhound has removed seats to create extra leg-room for passengers and to enable them to comfortably use a laptop. When compared to competing coach services, customers travelling with Greyhound UK can enjoy up to 20% more leg room.

• In addition Greyhound UK has installed highly comfortable seating and seatbelts.    

• Power sockets are available for each passenger.

• Each coach is fitted with wi-fi

• Complimentary newspapers are available for passengers

I look forward to first "in service" pictures of these most attractive coaches.


A final takeover proposal for National Express Group

The Cosmen Group, the largest shareholder, has made a final takeover proposal for National Express Group (NEG) - for £5 a share - was made on Thursday 3rd September.

The news sent NEG’s shares soaring by 13%, to close at 466p. The consortium, comprising the Spanish Cosmen family (which holds an 18% stake in NEG) and CVC Capital Partners, says it has raised its cash offer to value NEG at £765m, but will not increase it again. The final offer is an 81% premium on NEG’s share price of 276p on June 26, the day prior to an announcement of an approach by FirstGroup.

Last week the consortium offered 450p, but this was rejected by the NEG board, which favours a £350m rights issue.

NEG - which has turned a profit into a loss, axed its dividend and is grappling with nearly £1bn in debt - has previously said it believes shareholders will get better value by staying independent.

In a separate statement, Stagecoach says it has agreed in principle to buy NEG’s UK bus and rail operations – but not the UK coach operation - from the consortium if the bid is successful. However, it will not make its own offer for NEG.

Both the consortium and Stagecoach had been given until next Friday (11 September) to make bids under takeover rules.

NEG’s decision, on whether to accept the offer or go for a rights issue, will be heavily influenced by the views of its major institutional investors in the City.

However, the jump in the share price suggests at least some City traders think that NEG will say ‘yes’.


Eastbourne merger reduced competition


Stagecoach’s purchase of two previously competing bus companies in Eastbourne has lead to a “substantial lessening of competition”, the Competition Commission (CC) has provisionally concluded today (Thursday).

The CC has been investigating the completed acquisitions of Eastbourne Buses and Cavendish Motor Services by Stagecoach, following a referral by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) in May.

CC Deputy Chairman and Chairman of the Inquiry Group, Dr Peter Davis, said: “We consider it likely that these companies would have continued to compete, providing bus services in the Eastbourne area, although potentially on a somewhat reduced scale.”

“In the next stage of the inquiry, we will go on to consider what measures should be put in place to restore competition or protect the interests of passengers in other ways.”

Remedies under consideration include divestment of part of the merged business to create a new competitor (which would then be protected by the OFT), Stagecoach allowing a competing operator to use its Eastbourne garage facilities, changes to services and price restrictions.


OFT ‘misses the point’

Responding to the Office of Fair Trading’s (OFT) announcement that it is referring its study into buses to Competition Commission for more detailed investigation, the CPT and PTEG both say that more on-road competition between operators is not the answer.

The OFT’s five-month investigation found evidence to suggest that limited competition may be leading to higher prices for bus users.

These relate to commercial services as well as services subsidised by local transport authorities.

The Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) says: “Bus companies operate in highly-competitive local markets and it is always in our interests to keep prices competitive to attract passengers out of their cars and onto our services.

“There is a great deal of competition between bus operators, large and small, although the biggest competitor for the bus industry is the car.”

David Brown of PTEG (Passenger Transport Executive Group) which represents the six English PTEs says: “This is an area where the Competition Commission’s cure could be worse than the disease - if they seek to promote more on-road competition as a solution.

“The best way forward is to use the powers in the Local Transport Act to ensure that local authorities have more influence over local bus services to protect passengers’ interests.”


Arriva sells, Go-Ahead buys

Go-Ahead Group is to buy Arriva’s bus operation in Horsham for £5 million. The deal is due to be completed by the beginning of October. 

The purchase includes 19 vehicles and 58 employees, which will operate as part of Metrobus, Go-Ahead's bus operation which provides bus services in Sussex, Surrey and Kent including regulated services for Transport for London (TfL).

Go-Ahead Chief Executive Keith Ludeman says: “The acquisition of Arriva’s bus interests in Horsham provides Go-Ahead with another opportunity to further develop Metrobus’ high quality service offer and benefits to passengers.”


Preston decision goes against Stagecoach

The Competition Commission (CC) is considering what action to take against Stagecoach after deciding that the group’s purchase of Preston Bus will “reduce competition and potentially harm the interests of passengers.”

Announcing its decision this morning (Thursday) the CC says it believes there could be “a worsening in fares and other factors such as service levels.“

It adds that Stagecoach operated “heavily loss-making routes in direct competition with Preston Bus, which then found itself in financial difficulties.”

The CC says it may require Stagecoach to sell all, or part, of the Preston business, impose measures to encourage new entry by other operators, as well as controls on fares and requirements to maintain service levels. It will publish its final report by 12 November.


Changes to bus services in Chesham and Amersham

Some bus services in Chesham and Amersham are changing on 7th September.  The revisions include changes to operators and timetables.  Some services have been re-numbered.  

3 – This service been re-numbered. Please see service 78 for details.

4 – This service no longer serves Pond Park, but now runs to Ley Hill every 30 minutes.

49/94 – These services have been re-numbered.  Please see services 149/194 for details.

59 – This service has been re-numbered.  Please see services 77/177 for details.

360 – This service has been re-numbered 190.  No other changes to this service.

71 and 73 –   These new services replace services 373, 374 and 375.  Run by Carousel Buses they’ll run hourly between Chesham Broadway and Amersham Station, via Chesham Bois and Quill Hill. 

72 – This replaces the 372. Run by Redline this service will provide 1 morning journey from Penn Street to Chesham.  Return journeys can be made on service 73.

77 – This service replaces service 59 between Chesham and Chartridge.  Most of the timetable is unchanged with only minor time changes.  It is now operated by Redline. 

78 – This service replaces service 3 between Great Hivings and Chesham.  The timetable is unchanged.  It is now operated by Redline. 

79 - This service replaces service 379 and runs return journeys between Chesham Broadway and Poles Hill.  It is now operated by Redline. 

149/194 – These services replace the 49/94.  Now ran by Redline there are minor changes to the timetable. 

177 – This replaces service 59 through The Lee to Great Missenden with a slightly revised timetable. 

336 – This Carousel Buses service now operates an hourly service between High Wycombe, Beaconsfield, Amersham, Rickmansworth and Watford.  It no longer calls in Chesham at peak times.  For peak time journeys between Chesham and Watford, please see the T2

372 – This service has been re-numbered.  Please see services 72 and 73 for details.

373, 374 and 375 – These services have been re-numbered.  Please see services 71 and 73  for details.  For journeys to Ley Hill please see service 4.

379 – This service has been re-numbered.  Please see service 79 for details.

392 – This service, which consists of return school day journeys between Latimer and Amersham School, a similar service will continue to run by the new service 71 with an extra bus between Little Chalfont and Amersham School.

A30 – Starting on 28th September,  this new commercial service operated by Carousel Buses will run hourly between Chesham, Amersham, the Chalfonts, Uxbridge and Heathrow Airport.

T2 – Run by Tiger Line, started on 17th August this service provides peak time journeys between Chesham, Berkhamsted, Hemel Hempstead and Watford.


These look like the biggest changes ever to services in this area! Great idea for the 336 to link Wycombe and Beaconsfield direct to Watford says Rogan Grey.


Follow the number links for more details of each service.


VOSA needs help

VOSA must be given additional powers to get dangerous vehicles and drivers off UK roads.

This is the view of the House of Commons Transport Select Committee whose report on VOSA, published this morning (Monday), makes a number of key recommendations to improve VOSA’s effectiveness.

While broadly supportive of VOSA’s work, the recommendations include giving VOSA access to ports to prevent dangerous vehicles from entering the country.

It also says that licensing rules for PSVs should be tightened by introducing vehicle-specific discs and rules to stop companies whose licences are reduced at Public Inquiry, from using capacity on other licences within the same owning group.

The report also calls for VOSA to be given IT systems and better information-sharing arrangements with other agencies, such as HRMC, on which it is currently hampered by data sharing regulations.

MPs also recommend that monitoring bus punctuality and reliability should be transferred from VOSA to local Integrated Transport Authorities.

In addition, the Committee warns against privatising the entire VOSA testing station network as it could significantly reduce access to testing, particularly in more remote areas of the country.


A day out with John Hammond in and around Oxfordshire


John Hammond sent a series of pictures taken on a day out and I have included many of these as they represent a snapshot of our local and near areas in August of 2009. They also show the interest to be found on such a day out not too far from Oxford.


John writes "I had a day out on Monday with a friend around fleets local to the area, we've been out and around visiting selected operators around North Bucks & South Northants. As the schools are on holiday, there were plenty of vehicles parked up at the various depots.



We started off in Aylesbury with a visit to Redline's depot where most of the fleet was in the yard.



Nearby is Derwent Travel & Vale Travel. Derwent's fleet is mostly Setra Coaches whilst Vale Travel have a mixed bag of coaches and buses for local service work.



From Vale we moved on to Red Rose at Dinton, a few examples of this varied fleet were present in the depot.


The Red Rose fleet can be seen far and wide and the destination displays give an idea of just how far that can be.


From Red Rose we moved off to Winslow, we found the yard of Howletts (Acclaim Travel) whose fleet is mostly made up of tidy coaches, two school deckers were present in the form of ex TWM and MK Metro MCW GOG 275W and ex Maidstone Mk2 Metrobus F774 KKM.


Again another very mixed bag which includes an ex Trathens Neoplan once used on National Express services.


From Winslow we moved onto Steeple Claydon to visit Langston & Tasker, most of the fleet was in the yard, a fairly typical coach fleet of mostly Volvo, Leyland & Dennis coaches.


Another fleet with variety and interest.


We headed on from here to Helmdon to visit Jeff's major yard in the old station, again plenty of coaches were parked up on site along with the few double deckers operated. Of interest here were ex Oxford Olympians WWL211X and VJO204X, both of which are still largely in original condition.


Jeff's are seen in Oxford on a regular basis as they have a number of school runs to Headington.


We moved onto Brackley at lunchtime, not much about but Stagecoach buses on service 500 and X88.



Langston & Tasker operate the Brackley Buzzer town service with a smart Mercedes Vario. The contract for this service ends on 6th September and passes to TEX Coaches of Bodicote along with the SMS Executive operated 499 & 508 services both of which we observed.



We had a brief stop in Aynho, not much in the Walters yard and Cherwell Coaches yard was closed up.



We then headed back into Oxfordshire, a quick visit to Charlton Services and then Walters main yard at Forest Hill. Walters had several buses in the yard including three Optare Excels P334 NHJ, R215 DKG & R207 DKG.


Charlton Services have variety and even a number of now elderly Leyland Tigers including one from Oxford Bus once fleet number 114.


Walters yard included buses once used on the Tube Connection at Lewknor and the remains of a Duple 425 coach.
Walters yard at Forest Hill.


Last picture, this Leyland National café lives in a lay-by on the Buckingham by-pass. Its an early phase 1 example, new to Cumberland I believe."



Banbury interlude with John Hammond


John visited Banbury on 27th August, yet again revealing the great variety which can now be found in this fair town, only a days march away from Oxford.


John writes "I had a day in Banbury today, as it was Thursday market, there were plenty of visiting buses and coaches today, many from outside of Oxfordshire and operated on infrequent services. There are also plenty of Stagecoach buses along with a small presence by Heyfordian Travel who now operate the B7 & B10 town services under contract to Oxfordshire County Council using a pair of the uncommon Plaxton Primo midibuses.


The other regular operators were also present including SMS of Towcester who operate to Brackley via many of the intermediate villages not served by the 500 service, Johnsons of Henley-in-Arden who run to Stratford and Geoff Amos who run to Rugby.


Some of the variety is shown below."


KX58LJC is one of Heyfordian's Plaxton Primo midibuses and is seen here on the B10 service to Hanwell Fields
which was taken over under contract to Oxfordshire in June. Previously it had been operated by Grayline of Bicester.


VX56LCE is a Mercedes Vario of Shipston Link, a community minibus operator from Warwickshire. It was seen here in Bridge Street making a return journey to Shipston.


RXP765 is a Jonckheere bodied B10M of Cheney Travel seen leaving the bus station.


XWG254 is a Jonckheere bodied B10M of Jeffs, Helmdon formerly with Oxford Bus on the X90 as their 44.
It was one of four purchased from OBC, all of which are still running for Jeffs. They were new to Parks of Hamilton.


KX09CKC is the other Plaxton Primo used by Heyfordian, this example was working the B7 service.



SMS of Towcester currently operate the 499 and 508 services to Brackley, although they have recently lost the contract
and it will pass to Bodicote based TEX Coaches in September. KX56 OVV is a Mercedes Vario with wheelchair accessible Plaxton body.


A&M Group run a number of services in Warwickshire under the Flexibus name using accessible Vario minibuses in Warwickshire CC livery.
One such service they run is the 498 from Radford Semele and Southam to Banbury on a Thursday.


Long established coach operator Pulham's of Bourton on the Water run two services in Oxfordshire,
one of them is the market day only service 806 from Bourton to Banbury which was operated by UDF 936, a Plaxton bodied Volvo.


Although Geoff Amos run into Banbury with the GA02 service from Rugby & Daventry,
they also operate a market day special from Towcester which was being operated by this Jonckheere bodied Volvo.


Heyfordian's 81 service runs between Banbury, Aynho and Bicester and was being operated by this Jonckheere bodied Volvo B10M.


Johnsons of Henley-in-Arden operate two routes between Stratford & Banbury. Working in on the 270 was this East Lancs bodied DAF YD02 RHY


Geoff Amos run the GA02 to Rugby via Daventry, seen on this well loaded service is AM05 JOS


SC Oxfordshire 47239 KX55RCF branded for Network Banbury B1/B2 routes


KV53NHA Dennis Dart on the 488 service to Chipping Norton


026 - P854SMR - Volvo B6LE on the B8 local service.


P802NJN is a Dennis Dart of Stagecoach Warwickshire. It came to Warwickshire from Stagecoach London and was part of a batch used in Rugby on service 4

 as I remember driving this bus and others on that service back in 2005, these have since been cascaded to Stratford and is working a 277 service.


Catteralls of Southam had this coach on the Thursday and Saturday only 503 service from Southam to Banbury via Hanwell.




Huntingdon with Gary Seamarks


Gary Seamarks writes to say that he had a couple of hours in Huntingdon Bus Stn on Monday 3rd August and I am sure readers will b e interested to see what was happening on that sunny morning.


Gary liked the trio of ex Stagecoach Olympians and the ex Cumberland B10M best and he notes that things have changed in the last year with the last Titans having left Whippet. Also the last Fens Leyland Olympians also departed. He adds that both styles of Busway buses are shown and Gary hopes tol revisit once the Busway is open


Stagecoach 14561 AE09GYJ is seen leaving the bus station for Cambridge.


Stagecoach 15465 AE09GYP is seen in Huntingdon with this nearside shot giving an all round idea of these Scanias.


Stagecoach 21229 AE09GYZ is also seen leaving the bus station Cambridge bound.


An ex Huntingdon & District Volvo B10B with Wrights bodywork, 21162, R122HNK, freshly garbed in SC livery leaves Huntingdon for St Ives.


Marshall Dart Stagecoach 33300 R791NRW once with Huntingdon & District.


Stagecoach 33307 AE51VFU and ex Huntingdon & District Dart leaves the bus station.


This one had me going as I did not know that National Express were running one service per day from Huntingdon via Cambridge to London.
AMBASSADOR new Levante 206 - FJ09DXA works that one service departing Huntingdon at 09:15.


The trio of ex Stagecoach Olympians, G184JHG J808WFS and G340KKW laying over in the bus station.


Whippet H14WCL leaves the bus station.


Another ex Stagecoach bus in the Whippet fleet is this ex Cumberland Volvo, K699ERM.


An Alexander ALX300 of Whippet S134EJE leaving the bus station.


The "new" order now that the Titans have gone is this Dennis Trident/ Plaxton President with Whippet, X605EGK,
which once worked from the London General garage at Stockwell in London as PDL5.



Graham Lord on the 737


Two friends and myself met you a couple of months ago when we travelled on your NEx 737 coach from Stansted Airport to Oxford at silly o' clock in the morning. My friend David is an avid reader of your The Oxford & Chilterns Bus Page.


If you remember, you gave us all a very informative ride through to Oxford, where we three alighted at the Park and Ride, ready to catch a Tube to London. We were undertaking this rather bizarre overnight coach experience in readiness for our John O'Groats to Land's End challenge, which took place at the end of June.


I set-up and maintained a blog of our experience during this historic trip. I assist in maintaining the Transport of Delight blog ( and a version for all and sundry (in numerous parts) has been uploaded here.


Myself and David plan to visit Oxford on Bank Holiday Monday to sample one of the new Tubes. We've got no precise plan in mind, just to meet at Victoria for 1030 and see what time one turns up.



Ian Brown takes a day out


"Malcolm, firstly good to meet you, albeit briefly, once more. I had a really enjoyable day and was able to gain even more insight into NEx, Tube, Stagecoach...and even Green Line operations.


I must say that Stagecoach Oxford gives me the impression of being a well run, disciplined, tight ship. All of the staff appear well turned out and customer-friendly, vehicles clean,etc. The 737 driver from Hemel Hempstead gave the impression of being a safe pair of hands. He drove me home once before on the 1620 on a hot afternoon. The heating in the cab area was stuck to `on`!  TheTube driver was good, too. He had a name badge with, something like, `Deputy Controller` and had two stripes on his shoulder tab. One fascinating point was when we reached the stop before Buckingham Palace Road, he telephoned `Peter` to ask if it there was room to park there. Echoes of ground movements at Heathrow (LHR). "Proceed to holding point alpha and await ramp allocation".


Best wishes and thanks for your sharing your expertise. Keep up the good work."


Simon Hussey goes south


I spent Saturday down in Bournemouth taking advantage of South West Trains Midsummer madness ticket offer of £ 10 day return. It was only when I got there, did I find out that the Air Show was taking place as well and I also attach a picture of the star of the show, Vulcan XH558.



I am attaching four photos that may be suitable for you.


Chambers of Stevenage


Jeffs of Helmdon. This coach used to be with Oxford Bus on the X90 as 42.

Woottens of Chesham

Tates of Markyate


You can see more of Simon's pictures at :


Chris Maxfield goes north


Chris was in his home area recently and took some pictures of interest to local readers. He writes "Photos from Barnsley all of old Oxford vehicles. 20542 still owned by Stagecoach and working out of Barnsley depot although the rear shot would have you think otherwise.



The other two buses are run by Tates Travel Group. The Dart was new to Oxford and the B10M passed through Oxford generally working on Bicesters before moving to Banbury to work the then X59 service in around 2002/3. Attached is a poor picture taken by me of what was 204 and later 20204 in Bure Place, Bicester, taken on the 4th July 2002."




The remaining pictures are taken mainly in Banbury and include Stagecoach Trident from Witney at Cropredy on Fairport Convention shuttles.



The coach from National Express is NXL29 on the 210 service through Banbury and the other the Redline Primo working the 132.


Arriva coaches from Germany  in Kenilworth by Martin Beckett


Martin writes "I am involved with the twinning link between Kenilworth and Eppstein (near Frankfurt). Earlier this year we took part in a day trip from Eppstein to Darmstadt which required three coaches and these vehicles turned up much to my surprise. The vehicles came to Arriva when it took over Autobus Sippel whose depot can be seen from the Autobahn to the west of Frankfurt Airport. They have Mercedes chassis."


Menu for News Page Issue 4th September 2009

Archive Index (previous News Pages)

Introduction & main menu

Editorial & Features plus Picture Corner

Company and Fleet News

Concessionary Travel, Buses in the Landscape, Running Days and Historical articles

Spottings and Jottings nr2 30th August 2009

Special issue to mark introduction of new Oxford tube fleet

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